Marijuana is becoming increasingly popular, increasingly legal, and increasingly discussed about everywhere, including online.  In the case of the marijuana industry, the adage “knowledge is power” is truer than ever.  Whether you are a consumer of marijuana or not, it is socially and politically important to educate yourself about the plant as its introduction into legality and the roadblocks it faces on the way will determine how your taxpaying dollars are spent and shape the social environment you live in.

Here are a few websites you can use if you are interested in educating yourself on all things cannabis.

News

The rise of legalized pot means that marijuana is going to be featured in a lot of news venues from Time to the Washington Post.  Here are some news sources specializing in cannabis coverage.

HIGH TIMES

Hightimes magazine, cannabis education Founded in 1974, the HIGH TIMES culture-shaping magazine has featured such renowned authors as Truman Capote, Charles Bukowski, and William Burroughs.  The magazine features stories on the news, entertainment and culture, cultivation and legalization in addition to sponsoring events like the Cannabis Cup and the Business Summit conference.  The organization’s mission is to connect people “with the most relevant and timely information to inform their worldview and help them take a serious look at the health benefits, business opportunities and rich culture of cannabis.”

The Daily Chronic

This online newspaper’s mission is to “provide the highest quality, most objective, accurate, and up to date news affecting and relevant to the cannabis community as marijuana law reform sweeps the United States, North America, and the rest of the world.”  The newspaper contains sections on politics, medical marijuana news, US news, world news, business news, opinion, marketplace, sales, activism, entertainment, cannabis consumer, lifestyle and culture, gift guides, pending legislation, travel, polls, and studies.  It’s a great source of professional, researched, and up to date information on the marijuana movement.

The Cannabist

Based in Denver, CO, the first city to sell legalized recreational marijuana, the Cannabist, an edition of the Denver Post, markets itself as a place to journalistically share all ideas, news, food, art, and people related to the burgeoning cannabis industry.  In addition to the traditional sections covered by news organizations, the Cannabist includes sections like “Pot and Parenting,” “Cultivation Tips and Advice,” and “Pot and the Body” to name a few.

Strain and Dispensary Education

Consuming marijuana no longer carries the same shameful taboo it once did, and people are rPopular Strains, Strain Educationeally interested in talking about its chemical components, benefits, and strains. Individual strains have different effects and benefits, so it’s important to consumers to know exactly what it is they are ingesting.

Not only are cannabis buyers responsible for researching different strains but different prices offered by nearby dispensaries.  The nascent legal cannabis industry has presented the market with both a challenge and an opportunity here—the feat of transparently and simply educating consumers.

Wikileaf

Wikileaf has taken it upon themselves to tackle this challenge. Launched in 2014 by Dan Nelson, this Seattle startup is the first to compare nearby dispensary prices and menus.  In addition to saving customers time and money by allowing them to compare prices before leaving home, the site also offers information on different strains, marijuana news, and cannabis culture and lifestyle.  The website is easy to navigate and is friendly for all consumers, whether they are making their first or 100th purchase.  Get the app on Google Play (Android) or the App store (Apple).

Marijuana Policy & Data

As the legalization movement gathers momentum, the data available on marijuana grows. Here are some sources that do a good job of keeping track of only the most reliable information.

NORML

Founded in 1970, NORML is a non-profit advocacy group with the mission “to movNORML, Cannabis Educatione public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.” NORML exercises this mission statement by providing information offsetting anti-marijuana propaganda, lobbying in favor of marijuana reform on the state and federal levels, publishing a newsletter, and hosting its website and annual conference.

Marijuana Policy Project

MPP was founded in 1995 and is dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition. It is made of three organizations.  MPP, the main branch, focuses on lobbying.  Founded in 1996, the MPP Foundation deals with education.  Finally, the MPP Pac, founded in 2003, funds congressional candidates.  The Marijuana Policy Project’s four-pronged mission statement is committed to the following goals: “(1) Increase public support for non-punitive, non-coercive marijuana policies.  (2) Identify and activate supporters of non-punitive, non-coercive marijuana policies.  (3) Change state laws to reduce or eliminate penalties for the medical and non-medical use of marijuana.  (4) Gain influence in Congress.”

Drug Policy Alliance

This organization takes a unique stand on the government’s overall attitude toward drugs,

arguing that people should not be punished for what they put into their own bodies but only for crimes committed against others

Their mission is “to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.”  The DPA takes credit for preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being incarcerated due to drug related offenses, facilitating safe access for sick and dying patients to the medicine they need, and saving states billions of dollars by eliminating wasteful drug enforcement policies.

Cannabinoid Medicines

Founded in 2000, the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) is dedicated to advancing “knowledge on cannabis, cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and related topics especially with regard to their therapeutic potential.”   This is an excellent source for anyone interested in investigating clinical trials, medical uses of cannabis, and the potential side effects of cannabis use.

Dianna Benjamin

About the author: Dianna Benjamin is a freelance writer, teacher, wife, and mom horrified and fascinated by social justice and our inability--yet constant pursuit--to get it right.